Manchin opposes proposed bonus tax credit for union-made electric vehicles in Biden spending bill

Manchin criticized the proposal while attending an event at a Toyota facility in his home state of West Virginia

Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Thursday he opposes a proposal in President Biden’s social spending bill that would award enhanced federal tax credits for union-made electric vehicles.

The provision included in draft versions of the legislation, dubbed the "Build Back Better Act," would offer a $7,500 tax credit for purchases of electric vehicles for five years after the bill is passed. However, electric vehicles manufactured at union-run U.S. facilities would be eligible for an additional $4,500 credit.

Manchin criticized the proposal while attending an event at a Toyota facility in his home state of West Virginia, telling Automotive News the concept was "not American." Toyota, which operates non-union U.S. vehicle plants, is one of several auto manufacturers lobbying against the tax credit for union-made electric vehicles. Opponents say the measure is anti-competitive.


Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., walks through the subway on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP Newsroom)

"When I heard about this, what they were putting in the bill, I went right to the sponsor and I said, ‘This is wrong. This can’t happen. It’s not who we are as a country. It’s not how we built this country, and the product should speak for itself," Manchin told Automotive News. "We shouldn’t use everyone’s tax dollars to pick winners and losers. If you’re a capitalist economy that we are in society then you let the product speak for itself, and hopefully, we’ll get that, that’ll be corrected."

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has lobbied for the tax credit to be included in the bill. A framework agreement for Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending bill includes more than $500 billion toward climate-related actions and incentives.

US President Joe Biden reacts during a meeting on "the Build Back Better World (B3W)", as part of the World Leaders' Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 2, 2021. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

"Senator Manchin and I work together on many issues, and I was proud to stand with him two years ago to help the members of the United Mine Workers of America union in West Virginia," Stabenow said in a statement to Fox Business. "At that time, some argued his bill was unfair and was picking winners and losers. But we rejected that argument and stood together to protect union pensions," she said. 

"This issue is no different. Standing up for hardworking Americans is always the right thing to do."

Biden has cultivated close ties with the United Auto Workers union since taking office. In August, White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested Tesla was omitted from an electric vehicle summit because the company was not affiliated with United Auto Workers.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to the Economic Club, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP Newsroom)


Manchin and fellow moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., are key roadblocks to passage of the spending bill, which is expected to be brought up for a vote later this month. The Congressional Budget Office is in the process of scoring the legislation after moderates in the House sought clarity on the bill’s financial implications.